After three months of operations, Valcare’s Covid-19 Response Programme has enabled an estimated 2 913 120 meals to vulnerable people in the Cape Winelands.
At the beginning of lockdown, Valcare, who specialises in managing social investments, made the decision to temporarily focus our attention on providing food support to beneficiaries of our nonprofit member organisations most affected.
A Covid-19 fund was set up with the objective to relieve hunger in communities by distributing food support through monthly household food parcels, SMS food vouchers and supply of food to soup kitchens.
“Although nutritional support is not part of Valcare’s core focus, we felt that we couldn’t turn a blind eye and continue with ‘business as usual’ whilst the desperation of our neighbours were so evident. We had to stand in the gap to help fulfil people’s basic needs,” says Ivan Swartz, CEO of Valcare.
Collaboration Enabling Real Change
More than 150 individuals, corporates, foundations and trusts have collectively donated R2 674 370 so far.
A significant contribution was made by Val de Vie Estate, raising a total of R1 302 665 through donations from their residents and through the Val de Vie Foundation. Other notable funders include the Hanneli Rupert Getuienis Trust, The Aslan Trust, FNB Western Cape and The Ironman Foundation.
Val de Vie residents further stepped up to assist by serving as volunteers, with 54 people helping to pack and sanitise food parcels over six weeks, amounting to 40 volunteer hours. Even the local coffee shop, Fleet, got involved by sponsoring 400 cups of coffee to keep the volunteers going.
Drakenstein Municipality strengthened the support efforts by committing R1 800 000 to run a parallel Food Security Programme, with Valcare acting as the administrators.
Non-financial contributions also made a big difference with R98 785 worth of goods in kind received. Hungry Lion and Dan Bronwen Smithers each donated more than R18 000 worth of food products, with the transport being supplied by Avolands which enabled all food parcels to be delivered to member organisations free of charge.
Great Relief for People in Need
A total of 4 711 monthly household food parcels and 8 279 household SMS food vouchers have been distributed so far, with eight soup kitchens receiving much-needed ingredients.
The food support was distributed through Valcare’s network of nonprofit member organisations, and Inceba Trust’s Early Childhood Development centres. Designated champion organisations coordinated the distribution process on a weekly basis in communities from Mbekweni, New Rest, Wellington, Lantana, Chicago, Klapmuts, Simondium, Kylemore and Gouda.
Valcare also worked with Drakenstein Municipality in a separate initiative where 33 ward councillors identified needs in each of their wards. Valcare assisted in the distribution of government sponsored vouchers to those identified in need.
Several moving messages of appreciation have been coming in from recipients of Valcare food support indicating the challenging times that people are facing:
“During lockdown jobs were scarce and we had no source of income. Thanks to the voucher I could at least buy some food for my family.”
“My baby was born during lockdown and the voucher helped me to buy basic items to make it a bit easier for us.”
“I was the breadwinner and had no idea how I was going to feed my two children and my wife. The food came at the perfect time.”
“Month-end was a stressful time, knowing that no money is going to come in. But thank goodness for the food voucher that gave us some hope to carry on for a bit.”
The Ripple Effect of Compassion
Local community members took it upon themselves to go over and above to make a difference in their own way.
Malcolm Lange, a previous national cycling champion, and his wife Jackie initiated a cycling challenge to aid the relief efforts. Professional cyclists had to complete as many kilometres as possible in one ride, with the funding raised going towards food support. DSV Pro Team cyclists, Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit respectively completed a remarkable 200 kilometres in one ride in challenging weather conditions.
Errard Sullivan and the Val de Vie Social Run-Walk Group that he is part of, organised a fun run where 66 people participated over two days, raising enough funds to donate 17 monthly food parcels.
“It is amazing to see that literally anyone can make a difference – whether it’s by donating R50 or R250 000, packing parcels, praying, cycling, running or even giving coffee. It’s not about one person’s major effort, but about the collective input of many,” continues Ivan Swartz, CEO of Valcare.
Pivoting into Job Opportunities
After careful consideration, Valcare has decided to conclude our food parcel and voucher distribution on 3 July 2020. We will continue to support soup kitchens with ingredients up until the end of August 2020, where after we will be pivoting into a new programme.
Valcare and our strategic partners are initiating an innovative response to the pandemic in order to increase the active involvement of unemployed people and move away from dependency on food aid.
Valcare’s new Vuka programme will focus on working with organisations to enable public good service projects to generate income and improve social spaces in communities.
“Vuka means ‘Rise Up’ in Xhosa and the programme aims to do just that: To awaken the spirit of people and to collectively renew the energy of communities to create resilience, optimism and active citizenry.”
“We are excited about this new endeavour, and also to refocus on our core mission: To activate and enable social change within communities of the Cape Winelands through social investment management, our membership network and strategic intervention programmes,” concludes Swartz.
April – June 2020 In Numbers
Total Monthly Household Food Parcels Distributed (Worth R350 supplementing a family of four) – 4 711
Total Household Grocery Vouchers Distributed (Worth R250/R350 supplementing a family of four) – 8 279
Total Food Parcels and Vouchers – 12 990
Total Soup Kitchens Supported – 8
Total Volunteers – 54
Total Estimated Meals Enabled – 2 913 120
Total Worth of Goods in Kind Received – R 98 785
Valcare Covid-19 Funds Raised – R 2 674 370
Total Number of Funders – 158
Drakenstein Municipality Funds Committed – R1 800 000
* A comprehensive project will be published in September 2020 when the Covid-19 Food Response concludes.